Former England international defender Sol Campbell has announced his retirement from football at the age of 37.
Campbell featured for five different clubs, including Arsenal and Tottenham, and picked up 73 caps whilst making appearances in six major tournaments over his career.
Despite his credentials, he has been without a club since being released by Newcastle at the end of last season and has admitted that he put his retirement off.
“It was a very, very difficult decision to come to because it’s hard to let go, especially when you have been a top sportsman for a long, long time,” Campbell told Sky Sports.
“It comes to all athletes around the world, you get to the age where your mind, your body and your spirit says enough is enough. You have to hang up your boots and call it a day.
“To get to my decision, it takes a long time. It is difficult for me to be here and say that’s it, I’m not playing football on a professional level again.
“It takes a long time because of the work I have done over the years and being at the top, dedication, it’s not easy to get to this. That’s why I was putting it off for a long time.”
Campbell revealed that he had received offers at the start of 2011-12 from sides in both the Premier League and the Championship but decided against joining either because of injury.
“I had a few offers at the beginning of the season,” he added.
“They were mostly southern-based. One was a Premiership club who was coming up and another one have actually gone up this year from the Championship.
“I had a foot injury so I couldn’t even play football at the time. I wouldn’t really have done myself justice or the team that were looking at me, so it was a difficult moment. When my foot was ready and fine, obviously people have moved on.”
London-born Campbell made his professional debut for Tottenham at the age of 18 and stayed there for 10 years before ending his White Hart Lane career in controversial circumstances, moving to north London rivals Arsenal.
His time with the Gunners was the most successful of his career as he won two Premier League titles – most notably as part of the ‘Invincibles’ side which went through the whole 2003-04 season without defeat – and two FA Cup medals.